GUWAHATI, Dec 12 � The city is set to host the flag-down ceremony of the ASEAN Car Rally on December 17, which will be followed by the ASEAN-India Trade Conclave.
A host of foreign diplomats including foreign ministers of several ASEAN nations will deliberate on the prospects of regional bilateral cooperation with special focus on the North-East at the conclave.
The 33 cars of the rally with a total of 125 participants are scheduled to enter the city on December 16, traversing a length of 8,000 kms over 11 countries.
Briefing newsman today, State Commerce and Industry Minister Pradyut Bardoloi said that the rally and the conclave would send out the right signal to prospective investors in South Asia and pave the way for enhanced bilateral cooperation in wide-ranging spheres such as trade, tourism, agriculture and allied matters, IT, etc.
Union Commerce Minister Anand Sharma will preside over the trade conclave.
�We expect that the rally and the conclave to have a lot of impact on the future of trade and commerce and many other issues of mutual interest. The door has been opened, and with India now having better ties with Myanmar and Bangladesh, the North-East can reap the benefits of enhanced cooperation,� Bardoloi said.
Business development and culture will be the focal points of the conclave, while it will deliberate upon 11 subjects including manufacturing and mining, IT and IT-enabled services, health care, border trade, agriculture and allied activities, air and sea connectivity and investment, among others.
Bardoloi said that since the first international car rally featuring the North-East in 2004, trade volume between India and SE Asia � which stood at $25bn (2005) � had shot up to $57 bn in 2010-11.
Sports Minister Ajit Singh also addressed the press conference.